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Horribly Unfair Treatment of Apple Continues

Is John Tavares of the New York Islanders "beating" Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals or Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs in this season's National Hockey League scoring race?

He has more points than both players. As of this writing, Tavares has 64 points, Kessel 61 and Ovechkin 58. I guess that means Tavares is a better player than Kessel and Kessel is a better player than Ovechkin.

It's quite the simple world we live in when you eliminate nuance from the equation.

Of course, Tavares has the points lead over Kessel and Ovehckin because he has 41 assists to "just" 23 goals. Kessel's more of an even producer with 31 helpers and 30 goals, whereas Ovechkin is a goal-scoring machine -- 39 goals and only 19 assists.

So we can get into different types of players who do different types of things when we discuss these three greats. And, in that conversation, we're all going to have different ideas of who we would want on our team and why. However, we can all agree that all three players are otherworldly, each with their own game changing merits.

It's a relevant analogy to draw when discussing Apple and Google and laptops because -- and I really can't believe I have to go through this again -- Apple doesn't focus on scoring marketshare the way Google does -- or, I should say, strives to.

Now that's not to say Google's approach is bad. It's not. Because it serves Google's purposes (or, at least, is ... hopefully ... on the road to serving Google's purposes ... someday). There's no question Google -- and Apple -- sit hot on Microsoft's trail, but Google's not doing it on the back of the hardware it produces or has others make. Google wants to get its software and services into the hands of consumers any way it can.

The hardware it attaches the Chrome name (and such) to represents merely one channel to make that happen. It's actually quite similar to the Amazon strategy, in that Amazon puts a whole bunch of opportunity out there (channels, features, etc.) for consumers to shop on its core platform. It's not looking to make money on Kindle hardware sales, it's looking to make money purchases you make with your Kindle hardware.

Google wants you to click its ads, as you migrate over to one or more of its software/service offerings, be it Gmail, Google Plus, Google Docs, Google Calendar, what have you. It's a risk. In fact, if you just look at selling hardware in isolation, it's a recipe for corporate suicide. You make nothing on these hardware sales and, quite honestly, your strategy to get people hooked on your ecosystem and, presumably, generate associated ad revenue for you, is so all over the map it doesn't feel like a map even exists.

Personally, I would like to see Google do something to open up a meaningful line of revenue other than advertising. Like put the great minds at the company to work to build premium products that can actually compete -- oranges to oranges -- with Apple. There's no doubt in my mind that if anybody can do that, it's Google.

At this stage, however, it would be nice to know how many pieces of hardware Google and its partners have had to throw away. Beyond that, I'd love to look at the margins.

That said, it's tough to argue with Google's strategy so far.

But it's just not Apple's strategy. And to make parallel comparisons between the two companies on something such as laptop sales (when you really can't be sure what the actual numbers are anyway) is simply not fair.

Tim Cook says it every which way to Sunday, but people can't get it through their information-filtering heads. Here's a line from Apple's most recent conference call I wish would stick:

As I've said before, our objective has always been to make the best, not the most.

That's just a variation of Apple's not a market share story. Never has been. Isn't. Shouldn't be. Better never try to be.

Every time somebody anoints some random piece of hardware an "Apple killer" or "beater," they, sadly, prevent the rest of us from moving what really can be an interesting conversation forward.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks. Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.
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